Monday, July 28, 2014

Mini Adventures 2

Here are a few 'mini adventures' we have been doing in between the big ones.

Lahn Canoe Trip!

A long holiday weekend came up in Germany (a bit unexpectedly) so after doing some research about what to do we came across this canoe trip. The river Lahn runs through Marburg so it is actually pretty common for people to take a trip like this. We opted for the two day / one night version but we could have done longer or shorter. We took the train about 10 minutes down the line and walked about two miles to the meet point. Here is Eric with our canoe all packed up and ready to launch!

It was really hot! Good canoeing weather.

Lots of swans on the Lahn.

And ducks! We saw probably a hundred baby ducks over the whole trip.

After a few kilometers we came across this Fireman training thing that was going on. The canoe people had sort of warned us about this. There was a big orange thing across the whole river (you can just see it in the background of the photo) and we had to canoe really hard to get enough momentum to make it across. We had to get instructions from a firefighter on shore because we had no idea what to do!

I pretty much wore my dig clothes; works well in desert and river!

We had a map and a designated stopping point for the day. We canoed about 9 miles the first day (with a fair amount of paddling- there is not much current on the Lahn). We stopped off at this large campground. There were A LOT of other people doing this exact same trip. Most of them were camping at the campground. Our instructions were pretty vague- leave the canoe at the campground. There were lots of other canoes around so we hauled ours off, left our paddles inside and prayed that it would still be there the next day.

We did not bring any camping gear with us to Germany and renting sleeping bags is not super appealing so we opted to stay in the bed and breakfast that is in town. It was a mile walk or so which is why leaving the canoe was a bit stressful. I am really glad we did not camp- the place was a zoo. It was on a smallish lake and since it was an extremely hot holiday weekend you can imagine the craziness going on at that campground.

The town was pretty small so there was really only one option for the bed 
and breakfast- luckily it turned out to be a great place!

I am so glad to not be camping. A shower was a definite 
must after a sweaty, sunscreen, river water day.

We walked around town, there wasn't really a whole lot to see. We passed about two places to eat- I choose this one but I think Eric would have been happy with the Doner stop. 
I think we made the right choice!

Here is our free bread- seriously the world's smallest amount of free bread
accompanied by the world's largest amount of smaltz. Remember smaltz
from the Besenwirtschaft? Bacon fat with bacon bits. 

We both ordered the salmon and spargel. I am so glad to not be camping...

The next morning we had a lovely breakfast buffet.

Walk back to the park in the morning.

Our canoe was still there! Eric is putting on sunscreen for the day.

The launch point from the park.

After a few kilometers of paddling we floated through Giessen... and a rowing competition! There were boats everywhere threatening to run into us. A guy on a megaphone started talking to us. We yelled at him 'Wir sprechen nicht Deutsch!' and he switched to English. He was very nice and asked us to keep to the side and keep clear of the racers.

Right after we got through the race we got to go down the boat ramp. It was a little nerve racking (we really did not want to tip over and get all our stuff wet) but it was a smooth ride.

Here are some other canoers riding down successfully. The ramp was really nice because it meant we did not have to carry the boat around the weir, which we did have to do on several other occasions. The boat is heavy and awkward to carry.

This time we got to sit in the lock and get lowered down. 
We had to wait around a fair amount of time but it was fun.

This dog kept trying to get into our canoe.

Lots of canoes in the lock.

Made it to Wetzlar! We had a nice time but we were both tired of paddling. As mentioned earlier there was little to no current so if you weren't paddling you weren't moving. We paddled 14 miles the second day. We were both really tired by the end.

The canoeing company sold us these cheap return train tickets. They are special 'canoing' 
tickets that only cost 3.40 euros. Germany is weird sometimes.

Walk to the Old Mill!

Another random Germany holiday came up and our friends invited us to go on a countryside hike to an old mill that now serves desserts. Sounds good to me! We took a short train ride to a nearby town and walked around a bit. Every village has an old church.

And cool sculptures.

 We eventually made it to the starting point.

No country side walk is complete without cows!

Or meadows.

Or looking at the map to make sure we are not lost.

Made it to the mill! and this was waiting for me. We had stopped and had a 
picnic lunch earlier but I was very much ready for this.

We then walked back to a different town and caught the train home. In total we walked around 9 miles! It was a good thing we ordered a second piece of dessert.

Grube Messel Pit!

We decided to check another UNESCO world heritage site off our list- the Grube Messel Pit! Our friends Katja and Andrew were troopers and drove both their cars to get us and their two kids there. It was about a 1.5 hour drive one way- road trip! Here are Katja and Luke outside the museum portion.

The Messel Pit is a big hole that contains amazingly well-preserved fossils from 47 million years ago.  There was a nice little interpretive center about the pit and some of the findings. Here is Emma reading the information for Luke.

Eric looking at sediment.

Eric and Luke looking at bones.

The pit!

We went on a guided tour of the pit- all in German of course. 
Katja and Andrew were great and interpreted quietly for us.

Eric holding up Luke so he can see better.

Our pit stops! Each canopy was a talking point on the tour.

Panorama of the Pit.

Everyone eating lunch at the cafe after the tour. The interpretive center was nice but all the really cool things they have pulled out of the pit are at the natural history museum in Frankfurt.

Here are some Katja pictures. She is a professional photographer! 
There is a distinct improvement in the quality.

Okay- I took this one but I still feel like she deserves the credit.

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